The Washington County Board of Supervisors has eliminated one position from the Department of Public Works while re-establishing funding to Cornell Cooperative Extension.
In two successive resolutions, the board voted Friday to eliminate the position of the public works manager/deputy superintendent of public works (Resolution 330) and reinstate funding to Cornell Cooperative Extension and other offices (Resolution 331).
Dresden supervisor Robert Banks questioned why the move to cut the DPW position was being made after the public works committed repeatedly voted against the cut.
“The elimination of this position has been brought up many times this year in committee and rejected each time it was brought up to vote,” said Banks. “I was wondering why this was changed in the finance meeting.”
“This was brought up in the finance meeting as it has been in other committees and that was the result of the vote,” said County Board Chairman Donald Wilbur. “There actually was not a tremendous amount of discussion.”
While the resolution passed, Banks and Putnam Supervisor Robert Lapointe voted against the resolution.
The elimination of the will save the county $63,939 in payroll, $4,892 in Social Security benefits, $7,026 in retirement benefits and $11,687 in medical benefits, for a total savings of $87,544. Appropriations for the DPW in the 2010 tentative budget will decrease to $1,879,621.
There was no discussion when it came to the second resolution, which was adopted despite nay votes from budget officer Gayle Hall and Hartford Supervisor Nancy Hall.
The resolution restored almost all of the funding to the Washington County branch of Cornell Cooperative Extension, adding $262,500 for a total of $362,500 in funding for the organization.
The board also added $40,000 in appropriations to soil and water, while increasing the county share in mortgage taxes $133,000 and increasing the appropriated fund balance by $169,500.
Nancy Hall commented on resolution 331 after the vote.
“We are not going to get a budget together unless we start standing up and saying sorry, but we are going to have to cut,” said Hall. “We really need to have to decide if we are going to do something we need to stick to our guns and do it. They don’t want their taxes to go up but they want all their programs you can’t have it both ways. We always seem to go around in a circle and then get back to where we started again.”
Granville Supervisor Rodger Hurley said that he felt the board should have been more active in the budget process earlier in the year.
“I am not pointing my comments toward the budget officer. I am pointing them at the county board as whole,” said Hurley. “The board of supervisors has not taken responsibility for the budget. It seems the feeling is to glide along throughout the year until we get to this situation and get in the mess we are in now. This is a circus.”
Hurley added that being involved in the budget process also was being involved with the future of the county.
“Who speaks for Washington County — the health of Washington County and the future of Washington County,” he said. “It’s this board of supervisors. I don’t hear any comments on the future of the county and I don’t hear any facts half the time about the future of the county half the time.”
The Washington County Board of Supervisors will continue to work on the budget at a finance committee meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 9 a.m. and a full board meeting on Friday, Dec. 4, at 10 a.m. Both meetings will be at the Washington County offices in Fort Edward.